Rooney A Worry For Arsenal But Alexis And Theo Are On Fire
Match Preview – Arsenal vs Manchester United – Premier League – 04.10.15
I really want to laugh at Chelsea right now but with a match this big in front of us I don’t want to tempt fate, especially after they were gifted 3 of the 8 points they have so far by the ineptitude of Mike Dean.
In refereeing terms we are being forced from the frying pan into the fire as our appointed official is none other than the Oxford Dictionary’s choice of predicate in the example sentence for incompetence “The game was ruined because they were Anthony Taylored“.
Why the FA have opted to appoint a referee from Greater Manchester in a game involving a club from Manchester is beyond me. It’s like appointing a West Ham fan as referee. He might not support or even like Arsenal but he’s probably going to dislike Manchester United more. It beggar’s belief.
Anthony Taylor has been reported as saying he supports Manchester United – this match has injustice stamped all over it and I can already see dodgy cards given to Arsenal, 50/50 decisions going United’s way as well as them getting light free-kicks and penalties, and I’m pretty sure we’ll have a legitimate penalty waved away.
After his horrendous display in the 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa he should have been struck off yet two years later here he is refereeing another big match. There is absolutely zero accountability for referees. Even when their dreadful decisions are overturned by committee – where a unanimous decision is required – they are out on the pitch again the next week. Possibly managers would get a little slack from fans if referees were held to account after the match and made to explain their decisions. I’m risking this being a blog about referees and not a match preview so moving swiftly on.
The Gunners have their work cut out in this match. Wenger has described it as a special fixture and whilst it has lost some of its sheen you cannot deny it is one we look forward to. Louis van Gaal has been lavish with his praise of Arsenal calling us “technically and tactically the best team in the league” which you have to take with a pinch of salt. He may very well be completely genuine when he says it and on our day I am inclined to agree with him but I must temper that with two points. Firstly, our day doesn’t happen with great regularity. Secondly, opposition managers usually say something like this about us before we lock horns to cover themselves if they lose or make themselves look like a genius when they win. It’s an old trick and one we shouldn’t fall for.
If we lose in a fair game we can only blame ourselves and this resurgent United team certainly looks to have the ability, but more importantly, the confidence, to come to our ground and give us problems.
It’s been a while since Arsenal have beaten United in the league, four years to be precise, but they have reason to be confident. Alexis and Walcott are showing signs of a really fruitful understanding and partnership whilst Coquelin is back from injury and presented with a chance to prove Wenger right for sticking with him rather than splashing on Schneiderlin.
Koscielny is injured with a hamstring injury and is joined by Flamini and Arteta in missing this match. We’re approaching the 10 game mark, the point where it is fair to say where you think we’ll be or not and it’s vital for Arsenal to be as close to the top as possible so a win is a must.
I’d love a win here but I fear we may have to settle for a draw. I’ve been wildly wrong with my predictions recently so here’s to hoping I am again.
Arsenal from; Cech, Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Debuchy, Gabriel, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Monreal, Cazorla, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Ramsey, Campbell, Giroud, Alexis, Walcott
Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Özil, Alexis, Ramsey, Walcott
I expect to see substitute appearances from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Debuchy.
“Without home form, you don’t win the championship, that’s for sure. We have a big game at home and the advantage is to win the big game at home” – Arsène Wenger
Last 3 Meetings
- Man Utd 1-1 Arsenal (17.05.2015)
- Man Utd 1-2 Arsenal (09.03.2015)
- Arsenal 1-2 Man Utd (22.11.2014)
Arsenal Last 5
United Last 5
Manchester United have been in pretty good form this season and currently have the joint best defence in the league. Martial has been impressive in his early outings but it’s far too early to say any more than that. Rooney will relish this game as he has a great scoring pedigree against Arsenal.
I’m not sure what to make of this United team. Crystal Palace, Leicester and West Ham are performing way above the expectations of the wider audience and you have to wonder if United are doing the same. Right now they look like genuine title challengers but that could change with a few results to demote them back to top four challengers which is where most felt they would be with the added, but welcome, complication of Champions League matches to pressure their fixture list. Indeed, Van Gaal has already bemoaned the amount of matches United are playing at the moment.
One only has to look at the Champions, stuck in 16th place with 8 points from 8 matches, 3 of which were a gift from the RA, to know that challenging for the title is going to be tough. Arsenal can feel they are contenders as, with proper officiating, they could be level on points with City with his match to play. United may too feel like they are contenders, this match will go someway to determining that for both sides.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in four away matches against Arsenal. They have never gone five away without a loss in the EPL era
- Only one of Arsenal’s four league victories this season has come at the Emirates Stadium.
- Arsenal’s win rate of 24% against Manchester United is their lowest versus any team in the EPL
- Prior to City’s thumping win yesterday, Manchester United were top of the table for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired
- Wayne Rooney scored his first Premier League goal, his first league goal for Man Utd and his 100th EPL goal against Arsenal
- Anthony Martial has scored four goals in his last five matches
- Wayne Rooney’s goal last weekend ended his run of 1,000 minutes without scoring in the league
- Louis van Gaal has lost just one of his five meetings with Arsene Wenger (all competitions) as manager of United and Barcelona
- Manchester United’s 2-1 victory in the corresponding fixture last season was their first away win under Louis van Gaal
- Arsenal have only won two of their last seven home games in the league
- United have kept clean sheets in four of their seven league games this season
- Arsenal’s five goals against Leicester last weekend doubled their season tally
- United have scored three goals in four of their last six matches in all competitions
- No player has more Premier League assists than Santi Cazorla’s 32 since his debut in August 2012
2-2 Alexis and Theo for Arsenal, Rooney for United with Martial getting a 90th minute equaliser… ffs.
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